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Fantasy Reader? Me? Never!

Posted on 6th April, 2021

But in fact, yes.

It turns out that after a lifetime selling books, reading books, reviewing books, whilst I worked on researching and writing history books, and reading my beloved Historical Romances, I actually read fantasy. Who knew? NOT ME!

 

Scroll back several decades in time, where for various reasons (one of which was to please a boyfirend at the time) I tried to read Lord of the Rings. I actually tried several times, but could never 'get into' it. A moment of enlightenment came whilst at university. Feeling deeply frustrated, and hating every minute I spent reading it, I lost the plot and threw my copy at the wall. I missed, and watched open-mouthed as it sailed out the window. 

Now that in itself wouldn't have been a problem, after all I could just go outside and pick it up. Of course I could, except that....

I was on the 4th floor.

(5th floor if any of our American cousins are reading).  

I approached the open window with tredpidation, hoping that no-one was below, especially not any of the college 'authorities'. Not a soul was in sight, however the college garden looked like the victim of a small riot. There were pages of the book everywhere; in trees, in bushes, in the pond, fluttering over the immaculate lawn - hundreds of pages. I have never raced down so many flights of stairs so fast in my life. I managed to collect about 90% of the book (yes I counted te pages) and I dumped the lot in the bin. It was surely a sign.

Out rowing a week later, I spotted a couple of pages rotting quietly away among the weeds and grass of the river embankment. This reinforced my belief so, other than to shelf them in the bookshop, I have never touched a Tolkien book again.

 

Fast forward some decades. I'm earning a living as a Bookseller now, running a Children's Department which also encompassed Teen and Young Adult. There were so many outstanding books, and I loved receiving advanced reading copies and reviewing them, then recommending them to my customers. I think however, the Lord of the Rings experience was carved in my soul far too deeply. I refused to acknowledge that the Teen & YA books I loved most, fell into the fantasy, magic, sci-fi, dystopian, genres. No, no. They were Teen or Young Adult. No-one could convince me to read that Fantasy or Sci-Fi stuff from the Adult sections.

Except I did. Without noticing. Or realising. Until three weeks ago.

Frustrated that my attempts at writing Historical Romance were encountering stumbling blocks and tank traps as the stories kept going in very odd and strange directions. I was restricted by the accepted behaviours of the period, my characters were very much kicking their way out of the 'norm'. Expressing this weird and wonderful frustrating phenomena to a friend, he stated without so much as a blink, a smirk, or a joke, 

'You're talking about fantasy. A world set in a period of time but where people do not behave as they would. Historically speaking.'

I laughed. He stared at me. We argued.

He made me email him a list books I'd read in the genre.

It was quite long. 

Just how in the name of the God of Books did THAT happen.

This is a list of some authors from whose published books I have read at least one. Its taken from Google so their names may link back to theor Google page. Or not.

 

Joe Abercrombie,

Douglas Adams

Joan Aiken,

Kelley Armstrong

Leigh Bardugo,

Frank Beddor,

Julie Bertagna

Holly Black,

Ray Bradbury

Terry Brooks

Jim Butcher,

Rachel Caine

Trudi Canavan

Lewis Carroll

Cassandra Clare

Eoin Colfer

Suzanne Collins

James Dashner

Tony DiTerlizzi

Stephen Donaldson

Jasper Fforde

Cornelia Funke

Diana Gabaldon

Alan Garner

Charlaine Harris

Kim Harrison 

Anthony Horowitz

Lauren Kate

Stephen King

C.S. Lewis

Lois Lowry

George R. R. Martin

Stephenie Meyer

Garth Nix

Naomi Novik

Tamora Pierce

Terry Pratchett

Philip Pullman

Philip Reeve

Veronica Roth

J.K. Rowling

Darren Shan

L.J. Smith

Paul Stewart

Catherine Webb

T.H. White